Regional Engagement Update: September and October 2017

25, October, 2017


Regional Engagement Coordinator, Siofra Cunningham’s feet have barely touched the ground these past two months.


September started with a visit to Rockhampton where guest speakers from the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network (PHN) shared information on Healthy Pathways.

Healthy Pathways is a new web- based information portal and online manual to ‘help make assessment, management and specialist request decisions for over 550 conditions.’ It supports primary health care clinicians to plan patient care through community, primary and secondary health care systems.

Siofra also attended the All Abilities Alliance meeting in Bundaberg where she was pleased to hear that Options Day, a free annual community event for people with disability, their family and friends, had been a resounding success. Her visit coincided with the rollout of the NDIS in Bundaberg and she was privileged to start to hear stories about participants’ experiences with the Scheme.

Rural and Remote Health’s Rural Minds workshop

Later in September, Siofra travelled to Mount Isa to participate in Rural and Remote Health’s Rural Minds workshop. This workshop is a comprehensive program designed to raise awareness, grow understanding and ensure that information is embedded into agricultural and farming communities.

As the month drew to an end, Siofra participated in the Gold Coast PHN’s Mental Health and Severe and Complex Findings workshop and subsequent Findings event. She was encouraged to see so many service providers taking part and voicing what they feel to be the best needs for their community.


FNQ Mental Health Alliance’s ‘Walk for Wellness’

FNQ Mental Health Alliance’s ‘Walk for Wellness’

October saw the community mental health sector celebrate Mental Health Week. Unfortunately, Siofra wasn’t able to get to any regional events but she is happy to share some photos she received from the Cairns Walk for Awareness event which had a great turnout! Gayndah MHAOD Hub hosted a beautiful breakfast and Mount Isa held a host of events including Morning Tea under the Healing Tree and Sharing Stories – Shattering the Stigma.

Lastly, Siofra headed over to Cairns for Far North Queensland Mental Health Alliance’s bi-annual meeting where Rights in Action, who have been funded to be the NDIS Appeals Support for Cairns, Yarrabah and the Tablelands, explained the NDIS appeals process in full.

Unfortunately, severe weather prevented Siofra from reaching the Tablelands Mental Health Alliance meeting, but she will do her best to reach them just as soon as she can.

Regional Engagement Update: Mount Isa, Toowoomba, Gayndah and Townsville

17, August, 2017

17th August 2017

Gayndah’s Big Orange.

In July, Siofra travelled to Mount Isa to meet with North West Queesland whose plans for Queensland Mental Health Week 2017 are well underway.

Moving further south to the Darling Downs, Siofra attended the Toowoomba Breakfast at the Chamber of Commerce where Richard Nelson from NDS was a guest speaker. The sell out breakfast discussed the impacts of the NDIS to local businesses, followed by a panel discussion and questions from the audience.

Some of the key points made during the discussion were:

  • The need for businesses to be encouraged to employ people with disability or mental health issues.

Next, Siofra travelled to Queensland’s citrus capital, Gayndah, and Bundaberg to meet with the North Burnett Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Hub. The Hub is looking forward to releasing their new brochures which will provide up to date contact information of services in the area and surrounds.

Francis Lavis, the new psychologist at Wide Bay Health and Hospital Service, Gayndah, updated The Hub on the new chronic disease psychology service, which is now being offered through community health.

Meanwhile, Engagement and Partnerships Manager, Sue Pope, visited Townsville to attend the North Queensland Alliance meeting. She also met NDIA partner, Feros Care, who delivered the local area coordination, as well as a number of service providers.

QAMH would like to thank members for their hospitality. We look forward to seeing you again.

QAMH members in Mount Isa.

What is The Hub? The Hub is group of government agencies and organisations that provide services to the North Burnett in the areas of Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug addictions. Their aim is to work together to close service gaps. For updates, tips and helpful information regarding mental health, alcohol and other drugs, please follow The Hub on Facebook.


Regional Engagement Update: Rocky, Bundy, Toowoomba and Atherton

10, July, 2017

10th July 2017

Bundaberg – Tom Quinn Community Centre where the meeting was held.

The month of June took our Regional Engagement Coordinator, Siofra Cunningham, to Bundaberg to meet with the Mental Wellbeing Collaboration and the Disability Network groups. Both of these groups have joined forces to create a stable collaboration as they move into NDIS.

Moving further north into Cairns, Siofra attended the bi-monthly meeting of the Far North Queensland (FNQ) Alliance. Members had the opportunity to discuss the happenings within their space. Members also took a moment to reflect on the future of community mental health within the NDIS, and how to go forward supporting people.

Also, in Cairns, Siofra had a “footpath” chat (during a fire evacuation exercise) about the advocacy work that Rights in Action are doing.


Bundaberg – Tom Quinn Community Centre – snakes alive!

Next, our Regional Engagement Coordinator took a drive south west to the beautiful Atherton Tablelands where she met with Georgina Beuweer who is a Recovery Worker of the Personal Helpers and Mentors Support Program (PHAMS) at Worklink, for an informative and engaging discussion on happenings in their area of expertise.

1,700 kilometres later, Siofra attended the Darling Downs Mental Health Community Collaborative which featured guest speaker, Peter Lacey (General Manager – Commissioning Services of Darling Downs West Moreton PHN). The event was held at Floresco, which is a new, free, community mental health service supporting people (over 18) living with mental health problems and their families in the Toowoomba community. They are an integrated service combining clinical, psychosocial, primary care and community services.

In the photo, from L to R: Shane Brennan (Acting Advanced Social Worker, Rehabilitation and Recovery Centre, Division of MHAODS, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service), Jodie Edge (Manager Partners in Recovery, Life Line Darling Downs and South West) and Ellen Heathwood (Business Development Manager – Aftercare)

As the NDIS has been rolled out in Toowoomba at the start of this year, it is always interesting to hear of any challenges and successes facing service providers and clients.

Meanwhile, Engagement and Partnerships Manager, Sue Pope took part in the Rockhampton Mental Health Strategic Collaborative working group, which was hosted by Susie Cameron (Service Integration Coordinator at Central Queensland HHS), as well as attended the Community Mental Health Stakeholder Group.

She also visited Toowoomba, where she attended a strategic meeting and bid farewell to Trish Feehley, Manager of Partners in Recovery, Lifeline Darling Downs. However, we are very lucky to have Jodie Edge take the reins.

While in Toowoomba, Sue met with Debbie Bailey the new CEO of Toowoomba Clubhouse and Penny Hamilton from Yellow Bridge, where she also did a spot of shopping at Collectables – a social enterprise boutique op shop managed by Yellow Bridge.

Where to next? Siofra will be visiting Mount Isa in July.

Regional Engagement: Partners in Recovery (PiR) Toowoomba 13th Jan 2017

6, January, 2017

13 January 2017

This week, Sue and I travelled to Toowoomba and met with Partners in Recovery (PiR) Darling Downs & South West Queensland to hear about their regional research project “Sharing Experiences on the Transition from PIR to NDIS”. This is a very exciting project that will provide valuable information to the sector. We look forward to seeing the progression and outcomes of this work.

Thank you to Toowoomba Clubhouse who made us very welcome with a tour of their gardens and a delicious butter chicken lunch. It will be great to visit again in a few months and see how the veggie garden is growing!

We also met with the Darling Downs and South West Primary Health Network (PHN) and heard valuable learnings from Warrina Services in their beautiful new offices.

We are looking forward to a busy few months travelling throughout the State. Please contact contact Siofra via email at  if you would like to arrange a meeting.

Regional Engagement: Wheel of Wellbeing workshop in Townsville 8th December 2016

9, December, 2016

8 December 2016

As Regional Engagement Coordinator, it is my role to facilitate collaborations and alliances across regional Queensland, and help you to connect across the state and build your capacity in the sector.

This week I attended a Wheel of Wellbeing workshop in Townsville. Part of a new Wellbeing Hub, the workshop teaches participants how to understand and use positive psychology to improve their health and happiness. The Wheel of Wellbeing workshop was really well presented and really enjoyable – thank you. I encourage those interested in health and wellbeing, from a personal or professional perspective, to see the excellent resources the Wellbeing Hub has to offer.

While in Townsville, I was also pleased to attend the North Queensland Alliance meeting at SOLAS. Kathy Willard, representative for the Member for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole, was in attendance and it was an excellent opportunity for members to share their experiences in the sector and the issues they have identified throughout the NDIS roll out. It was great to touch base in the region and I thank the North Queensland Alliance for having me.

I had another opportunity to hear regional news and NDIS roll out issues when I attended the Toowoomba Mental Health Collaborative meeting with Sue Pope, Manager, Engagement and Partnerships. It also provided the opportunity to share key learning from our colleagues in Townsville and I thank the Mental Health Collaborate for making us feel so welcome.

I am looking forward to visiting more regions in the new year. In the meantime, if you have any meetings, workshops or events that you would like me to attend, please don’t hesitate to email me at

Please contact contact Siofra via email at  if you would like to arrange a meeting.